Belfast Telegraph

Stephen Gately's bitter rift with family had been healed just a year ago

Stephen Gately had patched things up with his family in recent years.

The singer had drifted away from his parents Margaret and Martin Gately -- but the rift between parents and son was healed a year before his death.



It is understood Stephen was regular visitor to his family in the past 12 months.



After relations improved, Stephen spoke about the rift, saying: "It was crazy because you need your family and I isolated myself to a degree."



He returned to his old home in Dublin's Sheriff Street with his partner Andy Cowles last summer.



He said afterwards: "It was so nostalgic and quite emotional. It was a lovely experience. They (his parents) are still very happy there."



A family friend revealed yesterday how Stephen had returned to the area to bring his parents out to celebrate Margaret's birthday.



Stephen and his family had become estranged for a number of years. In 2006, his mother only heard of her son's gay wedding a day before it happened. However, Margaret wished her son and new husband Andrew all the best.



"I heard he was getting married yesterday and I've seen it in pictures in today's newspapers and on television. Well fair play to him and I'm happy for him," she said at the time.



Margaret and Martin have had it tough since Stephen's dad was forced to give up his painting and decorating work after falling off a ladder.



Margaret cares for her husband full-time following the accident at work in September 2004, which left him in a high dependency Intensive Care Unit for three months.



Stephen attended St Laurence O'Toole's school as a child and moved on to North Strand Technical College.



Prayers were said for the 33-year-old at mass yesterday at St Laurence O'Toole's church.

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